A preview of the emerging trends and key issues from the midterm elections' slate of ballot measures.
On Nov. 6, voters will head to the polls to decide who will represent them in their statehouses and in Washington, D.C. In 38 states, voters will also weigh in on a total of 157 ballot initiatives. Through the ballot initiative process, the National Conference of State Legislatures explains, citizens are able to bypass the state legislature and take proposed laws and constitutional amendments directly to the public by placing them on the ballot for a statewide vote.
According to Ballotpedia, among the 157 ballot initiatives that will be decided in November, there are several small business issues addressed multiple times, including:
- Elections policy
- Tax restrictions
- Medicaid expansion and healthcare
- Energy policy
- Minimum wage
Tim Goodrich, NFIB’s Executive Director of State Government Relations, also noted that it’s a growing trend for labor and environmental groups to take their proposals to the ballot to attempt to secure the results they haven’t been able to accomplish legislatively. The results of these ballot measure votes have the potential to affect small business owners significantly, and NFIB is engaged on many of them. Here’s a look at four of the most important ones.
If approved, Prop 6 would repeal the gas and diesel tax hikes and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017, as well as require voter approval for any future fuel tax and vehicle fee increases. NFIB endorsed the Yes on Proposition 6 campaign, noting that higher taxes and fees are not the answer when the state budget has a surplus of more than $9 billion. Prop 6 would force the Legislature to be accountable with existing transportation funds and remove one item from the long tally of rising costs on California small businesses and families.
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This measure deals with the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which was passed in 1995 and limits the use of rent control in California. If Prop 10 is approved, the Act would be repealed, allowing local governments to enact rent control more widely. NFIB supports a “no” vote on Prop 10, as more rent control—rather than more housing—will only exacerbate the state’s housing crisis.
If approved, this measure would change the Oregon Constitution to require a three-fifths supermajority vote requirement on any piece of legislation that would increase state revenue through tax increases, fee changes, or elimination of tax exemptions, credits, and deductions. NFIB supports a “yes” vote on Measure 104, as it will block hidden tax hikes and provide clarity on what is defined as a bill for raising revenue.
Initiative 1631 is essentially an ambitious cap and trade proposal. If approved, a carbon emissions fee of $15 per metric ton of carbon would be enacted on Jan. 1, 2020 and charged to major carbon-emitting entities, such as fossil fuel companies. The fee would increase by $2 each year until the state meets its greenhouse gas reduction goals. Revenue from the fee would be used to fund environmental projects, such as stream and forest protection, public transit development, and construction of new wind- and solar-power plants. NFIB supports a “no” vote on I-1631 because it will raise costs for employers and diminish their ability to compete with other businesses in the region that don’t have this extra cost.